~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Saturday, December 31, 2005

Censorship? Hardly.

I visit the Boing-Boing site regularly. There's cool stuff to be found there. But their politics are ludacris.

For example, contributors to Boing-Boing are encouraging it's readers to write Comedy Central and protest it's decision to pull an (extremely offensive) episode of South Park which features a bleeding statue of the Virgin Mary, calling this action "censorship."

"Bloody Mary: War on Xmas over, War on Blasphemy starts"


Here's the letter I sent to Comedy Central:

Dear Comedy Central,

I found your feedback page by way of Boing-Boing, a popular website which frequently confuses the word "censorship" with the words "private enterprise."

You guys rock! I love South Park.

I also applaud your recent decision to pull from rotation the "Bloody Mary" episode after negative feedback from your Catholic viewers.

That's NOT censorship! That's sound business practice. Please continue to keep your customers happy, and kindly ignore the idiots now accusing you of "censoring" your programming. It's obvious they don't know what the word even means anymore.

A loyal fan,

Keith in Kentucky

*double sigh*

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

There's a reason why we're not having children...

To reduce the likelihood of worry-induced heart attack, for starters.

UPDATE: Taranto and crew agree.

Wow, we can't help but admire this kid. We wish we were as gutsy at our age, let alone his age.

And in answer to the inevitable questions: No, we don't have kids of our own, and yes, if we did, we're sure our reaction to this story would be more mature.

UPDATE: On the way home, apparently. Too old for a spanking, 93% chance of motherly hugs and kisses.

(Via: Sondrak)

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Hold up a sec... Bush didn't lie!?

I hardly consider the Chicago Tribune the final authority on this matter. But credit where credit is due, they do a fine job debunking the myth that Bush misled the country into an illegal war.

After reassessing the administration's nine arguments for war, we do not see the conspiracy to mislead that many critics allege...

Seventeen days before the war, this page reluctantly urged the president to launch it. [...] We contended that Saddam Hussein, not George W. Bush, had demanded this conflict.

Many people of patriotism and integrity disagreed with us and still do. But the totality of what we know now--what this matrix chronicles-- affirms for us our verdict of March 2, 2003. We hope these editorials help Tribune readers assess theirs.

[Emphasis mine]

What follows is a simple breakdown of nine seperate arguments for going to war, divided into "What Bush Said," "What We Know Now," and "The Verdict."

I have almost no quibbles with the Tribune's analysis, except to note that their tone...

"We predicted that this exercise would distress the smug and self-assured--those who have unquestioningly supported, or opposed, this war."

suggests they believe I blindly supported the war in Iraq without any criticism of the President. This is simply not true. I have regretted his emphasizing WMD claims since they were proven inaccurate. And, like the Tribune...

"The administration didn't advance its arguments with equal emphasis. Neither, though, did its case rely solely on Iraq's alleged illicit weapons." [Duh. - Ed.]

my own analysis also led me to the exact same conclusion, namely that the stregnth of the other arguments provide ample justifcation. Also, I reject the assertion that there are only nine arguments for the war when Congress listed over a dozen in authorizing to President use force against Saddam. Seems to me that the official joint resolution should be the standard reference of record, not some editorial in some newspaper.

But wudda ya gonna do? It's a newspaper. It's their job to talk down to us like we're idiots. To them, it's "fair and balanced" to imply that Bush's supporters are just as stupid as the Bush haters. They endorse Bush's actions, but they do so from an informed position unlike those members of the great unwashed. Sheesh!

In any case, kudos to the Tribune's editorial staff for being the first mainstream publication to acknowledge what others have been saying for years now. This really is a milestone in the war of public opinion. The Trib thinks we're going to win, and is now taking credit for endorsing the decision to go to war, and that, my fellow members of the legion of Dumb, Unthinking, Kneejerk Bush Lovers, is something big.

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Slow news week at the Corner

With the need for imediate commentary on the latest breaking news of the day much diminished, the writers of National Review's group blog, The Corner, are feeling freed up to write on larger topics. With impressive results.

Stanley Kurtz turned in three gems in a row (start here and scroll up) sumarizing why he thinks a long term era of conservative leadship is likely, why that drives liberals to irrationality, why Iraq was the right choice at the right time, and why it's not enough to stop terrorism. I don't agree with it all, but it's his summation not mine, and it is still well written.

Some exerpts:

"Yeah, going into Iraq was the right thing. The real problem is that it was only the least we could do, and not nearly enough to take care of the problem. In the game of nuclear terror, I fear it's the rogue states who have the advantage. All they need is a bomb or two."

That's not fear mongering, that's vigilance.

"It's easy to criticize Europe's short-sighted refusal to scale back the welfare-state in preparation for the coming demographic tsunami. But we've failed too, thanks to the Democrats [refusing to compromise on Social Security reform.]"

Here's a point where I lay equal blame at the President's doorstep. I applauded his bold dicision to go foward in calling for reform, and thought (mistakenly, I guess) that he understood that long term stubberness was the only way to carry it through. 60 speeches in 60 days in 60 cities and then throwing your hands up was never gonna cut it!

"It's too late for Peter Beinart to restore the Democrats' "fighting faith." Instead of purging MoveOn.org, the Democrats are busy purging Joe Lieberman. I can't believe anyone thinks that reports of secret sniffing for nuclear bombs will do anything but help the president."

Stan calls this good news for Republicans. Maybe it is. But I don't think there's anyone who would call it good news for the country. The Democrats are a broken party, and that saddens me. It's as if the Dems are counting on future unchecked power grabs by the GOP (or trying to manufacture current ones) to win votes, instead of, you know, proposing any viable alternatives. That's not leadership, that's sulking.

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Monday, December 26, 2005

More "warrantless search" thoughts

Law professor Eugene Volokh, writing for Slate Magazine a couple of years back, predicted the exact scenario the US News and World Report is now bitching about today.

Volokh in Slate, 2002:

Imagine your least favorite president, from Nixon to Clinton, having powers like this in times of national turmoil. Police states can be built this way, and this isn't just hyperbole.

He's right, of course, that police states can be built this way, but in my opinion he doesn't sufficiently address the likelihood of this method being employed by a ruthless American politician bent on empire. And the phrase "national turmoil" doesn't quite describe America on the eve of 2006 as well as it may have in mid 2002. I submit to you that the only way we could even have this debate is due to a distinct lack of attacks for over four years and a distinct lack of egregious curtailment of our civil rights. The fear is gone (for some) and we've returned to our squabbling ways. That is the essence of democracy. As I've said before, I'm willing to tolerate a little friction in public debate. That's inherent in a democracy.

There's just one hole in the argument of civil libertarians (Left-leaning, like Angel or Right-leaning, like Eugene) willing to die in another attack if it means they can die unfettered by the chains of oppression, and it's this: You're pledging my life and the lives of my family as well. Unacceptable. And again as I've said before, (even I'm getting tired of hearing myself repeat myself, if that's any indication of how tedious I find this business) we are bound by a social contract which has at it's core one simple rule: If you want support from your fellow men, don't murder them. Break that rule and you will reap the consequences, because it's the consequences that make that contract valid in the first place.

In the end it boils down to perceived motive, doesn't it? If you believe Bush is evil, then his invoking of his Article II powers must be opposed. If you believe Bush is simply acting to use every legitimate tool available to him to prevent another domestic attack, then these recent leaks (illegal any way you cut it) also must be opposed.

As much as I dislike former President Clinton, I will give him this. He understood the contract of civilization. He wanted to be liked and accepted by his fellow men and so acted in a manner he believed to be consistent with gaining the approval of his fellow men. So... YES! I would give these warrantless search powers to my least favorite President! In fact I already have. Find me an anti-war liberal who will extend the same consideration to our current, popularly elected president. Bueller? Bueller?

Why? Because I reject the "slippery slope" premise Volokh espouses in favor of the "social contract of civilization" premise that I espouse. I believe the power of this basic contract trumps the complex rules of precedent. If it didn't, there wouldn't even be an America.

Does anyone doubt the wisdom of the precedent we set (now, thanks to Bush, known as our "national security policy") in casting off British imperial authority? If that was somehow a good thing in 1776, then what makes what we're doing in Iraq and Afghanistan any different today?

Seriously, I'm asking.

(Via: Powerline)

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Post-Christmas hangover fun!

Note to my dear readers,

The game known as "Roxanne," (in which the revellers are devided into teams A and B, Roxanne by the Police is loaded up on the old stereo, and where during playback team A drinks whenever the name "Roxanne" is heard and where team B drinks whenever the words "red light" are heard) is a great way to blow off some steam after the holiday family get together.

But not if you have to work the next morning. Not sayin' nothin'... I'm jes sayin'.

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

My buds at the NSA were too busy illegally monitoring your phone calls ...

... so they asked me to pass on a message...

Merry Christmas, America!

Oh! And they already know what presents you bought for them, but they promise to act really, really surprised.

Good night, and Cheney Bless!

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Are Springer and Survivor morally equivalent?

Back to back shows tonight on VH1 seem to say, well no. And the battle over the politics of our capitalist entertainment industry continues...

Since there's nothing else on this Friday night, and I was in the mood for mindless entertainment, I tuned in to VH1's "When Springer Ruled the World" docutainment program. Not bad, and I only bristled a tad bit when they noted Springer's opposition in the nineties by religious Christians and local legislators in Chicago. In the end, I was charmed by employees and producers of the Springer show when they countered with, "Oh please! We're in this for ratings and money!" Which, I've never doubted from the beginning. At least they're honest, no matter what your position on the quality of their brand of entertainment.

Springer employees were forthcoming, open, honest, and on camera. The opposition "declined to comment" accompanied by unflattering photos.

Imediatly following "When Springer Ruled the World" was another docutainment style program highlighting the tricks employed by other reality shows, exposing the dark underbelly of manipulation inherrent in reality gameshows. Tricks like selective editing, racial typecasting, dozens of writers present on a supposedly "unscripted" set, all of these were featured plus news of the personal lawsuits former contestants and recipients of practical jokes have filed against the various shows they've been on. One former contestant is suing NBC's "Dog Eat Dog" for brain damage after an underwater stunt he claims went bad. The whole show seemed to tsk-tsk the astounding popularity and staggering revinues generated by reality shows at the expense of human dignity and basic safety.

Again, reps from the "trangressive" side of the debate "declined to comment," again accompanied by unflattering photos.

I watched these two exposes back to back and thought to myself... Wait just a damn minute! Let me get this straight:

1) Springer is edgy, controversial, embroiled in court battles, a big money maker but intrinsically good because his detractors are just religious fundamentalists who mistakenly think he's exploiting people for profit?

2) Survivor, Joe Millionaire, Real World, Dog Eat Dog, New Candid Camera, and Married by America are also edgy, controversial, embroiled in court battles, are also big money makers but intrinsically bad because their detractors are just average joe's exploited for profit?

The disconnect couldn't be more blatant. I guess it all boils down to whether VH1 can piss off the all the RIGHT people.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Patriot Act Extension?

Could happen tonight.

I'm sweatin' bullets. If you believe (as I do) that this pesky little war of civilizations we're involved in is not solely a domestic police action, not solely a foreign military action, and not solely an intelligence action, and that all of these branches have to be able to talk to each other, then that means we need the Patriot Act.

We. Need. It. Not like needing a frozen Snickers, not like needing plastic surgery, more like needing a comprehensive plan to keep from being slaughtered. Yeah, that's what we're up against.

Thursday AM UPDATE: Whew! Six more months. As usual, Gonzo was on top of it last night.

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I think the new Pope is cool.

"I said have a merry Christmas... or else!"

Scary... but cool. If you're into papal headgear, the news blurb is here.

(Via: Drudge)

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Shopping at Wal-Mart brings boy to tears

...when an anti-Wal-Mart activist gave him a gag gift.

Late in the afternoon last Thursday, two people dressed as elves, and, in the words of an employee, someone who "kind of looked like Santa," walked into the North Lauderdale Wal-Mart armed with empty, gift-wrapped boxes and WakeUpWalMart.com fliers. According to several Wal-Mart employees and the sheriff's office, the presents were given to a number of children, and at least one, a 4-year-old boy, opened the gift inside the store.

Discovering that the box was empty, the little boy started crying.

That'll show the little capitalist bastard the error of his anti union ways!

What I want to know is how much these agitators were paid hourly. Any benefits? Hmmm?

Being anti-Wal-Mart is not a constructive, edifying philosophy, as this incident shows. It's simply a shortcut to feeling superior. Making children cry? Way to make an argument, guys.

(Via: Jeff)

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Another repost...

... or "Why Angel and I Are Still Friends"

The argument of the hour is whether or not the President is overstepping his constitutional authority in prosecuting the ongoing war on terrorists.

For the record, I don't believe so, Angel does.

But since neither of us are lawyers, we have been arguing from first principles, not law. So this is another attempt to reclaim my libertarian roots. Especially this statement of mine:

"For myself, I'm willing to accept a certain amount of friction between government and the people, as long as that friction manifests itself publicly and not in some secret, back room resistance movement."

Which I now ammend to reflect my view that this deeply held belief does not extend to forgiving leakers of classified information during a time of war. That exeeds my definition of a "certain amount of friction." It smacks of "back roominess," to coin a corny phrase.

Friction good, criminal leaks bad.


Still think we don't need tort reform?

Lee Harris (to whose excellent, clear writing you may remember I was only recently introduced) goes one further, arguing that we as Americans may be undermining our "fundamental right of free people to govern themselves" with too much respect for law.

"The moment the American courts decided that they had the authority to review how the Boy Scouts should operate their own institutions, from that moment on the courts had placed themselves in the position of having the final say so over how the Boy Scouts could operate, thereby flinging the door wide open for future meddling and interference. So what if they take the side of the Boy Scouts this time? Next time they could just as easily take the other side. In short, once the principle has been established that the courts have a right to decide other people's problems, then the people whose problems are being decided have forfeited their fundamental right to work out their differences without fear of the intervention of a third party possessed of virtually unlimited power to compel obedience."

It's an interesting argument, though a little hyperbolic in my opinion. He's trying to identify the underlying motivations for anectdotal accounts of abuses like those in The Death of Common Sense by Philip K. Howard. Well, good for him. It's a thorny question for the sharpest of philosophers, and Mr. Harris is certainly sharp.

For myself, I'm willing to accept a certain amount of friction between government and the people, as long as that friction manifests itself publicly and not in some secret, back room resistance movement. The fact Mr. Harris' article is published openly is proof that our friction here in America is still public. For that matter, the Supreme Court doesn't operate in secret, either. Let the debate continue...


Let the debate continue, indeed. But not to the extent that my family gets blown up. That most definately exeeds my definition of "a certain amount of friction." Our civil rights and responsabilities are a complex social contract, I'll grant, and we can argue the details, but from a first principle stance, let me say that I do not consent to being blown up!

See also: Max Boot in the LA Times

... I eagerly await the righteous indignation from the Plame Platoon about the spilling of secrets in wartime and its impassioned calls for an independent counsel to prosecute the leakers. And wait … And wait …

I suspect it'll be a long wait because the rule of thumb seems to be that although it's treasonous for pro-Bush partisans to spill secrets that might embarrass an administration critic, it's a public service for anti-Bush partisans to spill secrets that might embarrass the administration. The determination of which secrets are OK to reveal is, of course, to be made not by officials charged with protecting our nation but by journalists charged with selling newspapers.

Amen. The outing of desk-jockey Valerie Plame is nothing, nothing in comparison to what the NYT has done. And I demand an investigation. This is way beyond the healthy "friction" of public debate.

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Perfectly legal resignation but why the hell is this "news"?

FISA Court Judge resigns:

U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, sent a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. late Monday notifying him of his resignation without providing an explanation.

Which is as it should be. Sort of...

Federal employees that have access to classified information who disagree with any practice have a specific set of steps to have their concerns addressed.

1)Talk to your superior

2)Talk to all your superiors

3)Talk to the top superior, the US Attorney General

4)File a motion to be brought before the FISA Court for a final hearing

5)Resign without blabbing secrets

There is no sixth step allowed by law.

But why in the hell is this even "news"? More leakers, of course:

Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work.

His anonymous "associates" wouldn't feel so comfortable talking to the press in direct contravention of the law if Editor Keller didn't feel comfortable printing this story. Thanks New York Times! I feel much safer under your national security policy than I did under the, ya'know, actual policy.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Lockstep achieved! (Sorta...)

So I'm watching the President address the nation tonight, cheering for some phrases ("Not only can we win in Iraq, we are winning in Iraq") and lamenting other phrases ("Now that we're there, the choice is either victory or defeat.")

Critics of the war will jump on the latter half of the President's speech, which says, in effect, "Sorry for the mess, but we americans are all in this together, right?" To which I ask, liberating fifty million world neighbors is somehow a bad thing!?

A decent speech with strong points and weak points in my view, but overall I'm pleased.

More tomorrow with links to the transcript and video.

Pajamas has the mother of all roundups.

Transcript, Part II, Video

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"Crying like a woman watching Beaches"

Stephen Spuriell takes in the sights, the smells, the tear gas of Hong Kong during the WTO conference, which just wrapped up last night.

It was one of the most appalling things I've ever witnessed.

[...]The demonstration was largely composed of agricultural and labor unions from South Korea — a fully modernized, growing and dynamic economy. Yet here were its protected special interests, doing violence to the beautiful city of Hong Kong — a city which grew from nothing but the unfettered power of the free market — in order to keep the high tariffs that raise the price Korean consumers pay for rice to seven times above the world average and prevent rice farmers in poor countries from exporting to Korea. A privileged class in a rich country has come to Hong Kong to attack its police officers and protest a WTO that the influence of protectionists has rendered so pathetically weak, its members can't even make the smallest concessions here in Hong Kong to break the deadlock and move forward on a trade-liberalizing agenda that would lift millions out of poverty.

[...]Having been in these talks and witnessed the lack of progress, I wanted to ask them, "What are you worried about?"

Wow. Stephen has promised a write up with pictures and maybe video later this week. I'll link as soon as he has it up.

Meanwhile Bono has been named as one of Time Magazine's persons of the year. An honor earned "for being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and then daring the rest of us to follow..."

Which, apparently means putting on a kick ass concert. But hey! At least there was no tear gas involved.

I'm all for private charitable giving. But this?

2005 is the year they turned the corner, when Bono charmed and bullied and morally blackmailed the leaders of the world's richest countries into forgiving $40 billion in debt owed by the poorest; now those countries can spend the money on health and schools rather than interest payments—and have no more excuses for not doing so.

No more excuses, Africa! This time Bono means it! And his method of holding Africa accountable? I don't know, but his moral blackmailing skills are superb so I'm sure he has a plan.

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

"NY Times to American People: Stick It! We don't care about winning your little war. We're bringing down a Republican here, see?"

All day yesterday I was so sputtering angry over this terror-enabling piece in the New York Times that none my response made it out of draft stage.

"Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts"

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials. [...] Nearly a dozen current and former officials, who were granted anonymity because of the classified nature of the program, discussed it with reporters for The New York Times because of their concerns about the operation's legality and oversight.

But "concern" for privacy trumps "concern" for remaining attack free since 9/11.

What the agency calls a "special collection program" began soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, as it looked for new tools to attack terrorism. The program accelerated in early 2002 after the Central Intelligence Agency started capturing top Qaeda operatives overseas, including Abu Zubaydah, who was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002. The C.I.A. seized the terrorists' computers, cellphones and personal phone directories, said the officials familiar with the program. The N.S.A. surveillance was intended to exploit those numbers and addresses as quickly as possible...

Did it work? Well, have there been any domestic attacks the last five years? Any thwarted? Forget for the moment the imprudence of publishing this story, shouldn't the headline read, "Bush Lets NSA Run With Successful Secret Progam"?

Bush answers this outrageous article during today's radio address:

In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist networks.

This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies. Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country.

As the 9/11 Commission pointed out, it was clear that terrorists inside the United States were communicating with terrorists abroad before the September the 11th attacks, and the commission criticized our nation's inability to uncover links between terrorists here at home and terrorists abroad. Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf al Hamzi and Khalid al Mihdhar, communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn't know they were here, until it was too late.

The authorization I gave the National Security Agency after September the 11th helped address that problem in a way that is fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities. The activities I have authorized make it more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time. And the activities conducted under this authorization have helped detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad.

The activities I authorized are reviewed approximately every 45 days. Each review is based on a fresh intelligence assessment of terrorist threats to the continuity of our government and the threat of catastrophic damage to our homeland. During each assessment, previous activities under the authorization are reviewed. The review includes approval by our nation's top legal officials, including the Attorney General and the Counsel to the President. I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups.

The NSA's activities under this authorization are thoroughly reviewed by the Justice Department and NSA's top legal officials, including NSA's general counsel and inspector general. Leaders in Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this authorization and the activities conducted under it. Intelligence officials involved in this activity also receive extensive training to ensure they perform their duties consistent with the letter and intent of the authorization.

This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power under our laws and Constitution to protect them and their civil liberties. And that is exactly what I will continue to do, so long as I'm the President of the United States.

Here he addresses every one my own objections with the NYT article.

1 - It used to be a vital and successful secret program but will be less successful now. Thanks NYT!

2 - The program is subject to periodic review. This would seem pretty important to me, and the Pres puts it into graf number two. The NYT puts this little tidbit at the end of the article.

3 - The progam may be vital, but not at the expense of our liberties garanteed by the constitution. Bush is plainspoken that he knows and will faithfully execute his responsabilities, while the NYT stuggles mightily to suggest the opposite.

4 - The release of this information is highly illegal in peacetime, let alone at war. Bush doesn't mention any investigation forthcoming, but if outing CIA desk jockey Valerie Plame is worth a multimillion dollar, two years and counting special investigation, how is this worth anything less?

(via: the corner)

UPDATE: Upon rereading I have amended my wording above. The sentence that used to begin "Forget for the moment the illegality of publishing.." now reads "Forget for the moment the imprudence of publishing..." As much as it galls me, the editors at the New York Times are not legally culpable for running with this story. Stupidly arrogant certainly, but not culpable.

Michelle and Jeff have great roundups and analysis, btw.

(Via Michelle) From a statement by Executive Editor Bill Keller:
"[...] A year ago, when this information first became known to Times reporters, the administration argued strongly that writing about this eavesdropping program would give terrorists clues about the vulnerability of their communications and would deprive the government of an effective tool for the protection of the country's security. Officials also assured senior editors of the Times that a variety of legal checks had been imposed that satisfied everyone involved that the program raised no legal questions. As we have done before in rare instances when faced with a convincing national security argument, we agreed not to publish at that time.


"... in the course of subsequent reporting we satisfied ourselves that we could write about this program -- withholding a number of technical details -- in a way that would not expose any intelligence-gathering methods or capabilities that are not already on the public record."

[Emphases mine] Of course, the law breaking stool pigeons you anonymously cite aren't permitted to talk about methods or capabilities even if they ARE "already on the public record," you nincompoop! You made the right decision a year ago in heeding the administration's advice. Yesterday, instead of reminding the leakers of their duty, you chose to make up your own national security policy out of whole cloth. Your new rule ("We only print frontpage stories on secret programs after readacting all but the secrets already leaked!") weakens the, you know, actual national security policy that's in place protecting your arrogant ass!

The gall!

And from a comment left at Jeff's by reader Steve:

...I believe that the majority of those on the left and a good number of libertarians believe, quite simply, that we aren’t at war; or that if we are, it’s “war” instead of war, and besides, it was based on lies so it really isn’t a war. Also: Halliburton. And anyway, we started it.

With that as an assumption, they then act in ways that are utterly baffling to those of us who believe we are in a war that has many fronts, not all of which are physical.

If you begin with the assumption that, say, the New York Times thinks the war on terror and the war in Iraq are just a bunch of bullshit, then this kind of reporting makes complete and perfect sense.

That must be it. They undermine our efforts because after all it's only Chimpy McHalliburton's bullshit, illegal war for oil, so, ya'know, fuck it!

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Iraq votes

I like the way Bronson put it. (Writing for the Cincinnati Enquirer) "For the Middle East, it's the fall of the Berlin Wall, the defeat of Hitler and the Declaration of Independence trifecta of historic landmarks."

Amen to that.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Missed work due to complement

In case it's not evident from reading this blog, I should just spell it out... I have a serious "white knight" complex.

Case in point: I have lots of time to blog today because I threw my back out changing a lady's tire this morning. Here's how it went down. Those familiar with the tradition of telling "sea stories" will recognize the format of my account.

There I was... No kidding. Still three quarters asleep when I heard a knock at the door. I stumbled down the steps to see who it was, thinking, "Must be the meter reader again," when I found a tiny, prim, grayhaired lady on my doorstep.

"Can I help you," I asked.

"Oh, dear! You were still sleeping!" she said. "I'm so sorry, but I didn't know what else to do. You see, I have this flat tire after staying overnight at my daughter's house up the street. I don't know anyone in the neighborhood and she's already left for work. I remembered that you used to have a Marine Corps seal displayed in your window, and well, yours is the only door I felt comfortable knocking on!"

Oh! There was no way I could refuse after such an appeal! Now it was a point of honor! The jack she had in the truck of her Taurus was more suited for a golf cart than a mid-sized car, so I grabbed the jack from my car and went to work. But in lifting the bad tire into that deep trunk, I heard an ominous *pop* accompanied by shooting pain in my lower back.

I'm off from work today, but in my mind, it was completely worth it. The enormous trust that woman has for the military is a standard worth upholding. (Even though I'm an idiot who bungled a simple tire change-out.)

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Quick post on the "nationalizing of morality"

... and how stupifyingly damaging to our country I consider it to be.

This week Jeff Goldstein has been holding a fascinating discussion on the nature of identity politics, particularly radical feminism. (Note: Much of the discussion has been over the very terms of the debate, which hasn't actually begun yet. That's the level of detail he addresses. He's like a jeweler, constantly hammering out new, evermore minute facets. If you're into that level of hair-splitting [though he's the one who teaches English, even I know that I'm mixing metaphors] start here.)

In his latest he quotes Cathy Young:

[...] The concept of sexual harassment was around before Anita Hill. It was coined in the mid-1970s, most likely by feminist legal theorist Catharine MacKinnon, and soon gained recognition in the courts. In 1986, the Supreme Court gave its unanimous blessing to sexual harassment law in Meritor v. Vinson, a case in which a bank teller alleged that her supervisor pressured her into a sexual relationship. But the issue remained on the cultural periphery until the “national consciousness raising” of October 1991, when the country was riveted by Hill’s claim that as her boss at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Thomas had occasionally asked her out, talked about X-rated movies, and once joked about a pubic hair on a Coke can. Maybe, as journalist Christopher Hitchens suggested in his review of Hill’s dreary recent memoir, Speaking Truth to Power, “Everyone was slightly out of their skull that week.”

The “teach-in” succeeded: The Thomas-Hill episode established a dominant paradigm of sexual harassment. In this paradigm, any manifestation of sexuality in the workplace, from romantic pursuit to racy humor, is abusive if someone decides—perhaps long after the fact—that it was “unwelcome.”

[Emphasis mine]

Spot on. I'd like to note the crossover relevance of this:

There never was a time when working-class Americans voted for liberals whose values they rejected but whose economic programmes enticed them. Before the federal judiciary nationalised issues like abortion, gay rights and censorship, beginning in the 1960s, these controversies were part of state and local politics, not national politics. Conservative Catholics in the midwest or southern populists could vote for social conservatism in state and local elections, while voting for New Deal economic policies at the federal level. Thanks to federalism, New Deal liberals like Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson took positions on the economy and foreign policy; they did not have to take stands on abortion or gay rights. The very success of liberals in nationalising these issues has worked against them in a country in which self-described liberals are a minority, outnumbered by self-described moderates and conservatives.

[Emphasis mine again]

Which caught Paul and me by surprise in it's succinctness. However, it's an intuitive agreement we have with this statement. There's no argument to back it up, unlike what Jeff is attempting to do in his discussion of feminism.

Here's my challenge. I believe that in making the pursuit of equality on all fronts into a never ending pursuit, liberals have done themselves a disservice. At this point they can't acknowledge that any progress has been made, or else they'll lose their image as champion of the little guy. Especially when their stated idealogical goal of legal, theoretical, and practical equality has largely been achieved because, I believe, that's the same goal of their arch rivals the evil conservatives! Jeff suggests that "[...] we are dealing moreso with competing strategies for feminism here than we are some enormous divide between “anti-feminists” and “feminists” about the ostensible goals of feminism: equality of the sexes. How we get there, however, is another matter entirely."

Indeed. I've been mulling over a long post on the subject of why we disagree on method, while essentially agreeing on the goal, but the subject is so vast that it challenges my rhetorical abilities, I'm afraid. Which is of course why I want to do it. Challenge!

Let me ask my readers. Both of you ;) What tiny facet of which issue would you enjoy commenting on?

(Let's exempt national security and the war in Iraq. I think that debate is already well represented here.)

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Merry Christmas, Kadnine readers!

(via: KisP)

HOUSEKEEPING UPDATE: Two new links added to the blogroll, KY bloggers Digital Nicotine and 21st Century Paladin (who's up for a Weblog Award by the way so go vote!)

Plus, stylish-yet-slightly-creepy seasonal graphic added up top! Bonus!

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

After a year of blogging, it's time for a repeat...

Way back when I started this blog I spelled out my political position, but not why I felt compelled to write on political matters.

The war. That's the reason.

My transformation from a quasi-anarchist libertarian to a conservative idealist has been pretty drastic, occuring over the course of just a few months. And don't think it's been easy for the lovely Mrs. Kadnine. When I came back from Iraq she bravely put up with my obsession with public policy at a time when she was just glad to have her husband back. I've mellowed a bit, but even after a year, this post still represents the core of my new political philosophy.

I guess there's nothing like fighting in a war you didn't quite understand to fuel a search for the "why" of it all.

Here it is again, in all its misspelled glory...


Being "libertarian" means never having to say you're sorry...

... or "Why I am a conservative."


After reading several posts by self-labeled libertarians about why they're not prudish conservatives (though I think they do a great service to some of our mutual goals,) I feel the need to explain why I identify with the conservative movement underway in America.

Here's five reasons why I love conservatives;

1 - Conservatives are unashamedly pro-military. A conservative American intuitively "gets" the purpose behind the good work we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq. 50 million world neighbors liberated is a good thing. They see our armed forces as a force for good, not evil.

2 - Conservatives value traditions in a way that other American groups do not. A Marine never carries an umbrella while in uniform. You don't have to explain this to a conservative. Without ridicule, he/she just understands that traditions have value for their own sake. The phrase "traditional values" is a source of contempt among America's Left. To the Right, it's a source of pride.

3 - The mouthpiece of the the conservatives, the Republican Party, is more inclusive of dissenting views than the Democrats or any other fringe independent party. The Democrats have pushed out their center and center-right voices for the last thirty years. Meanwhile the Republicans can still boast high-profile, socially liberal politicians who actively and effectively support the party as a whole.

4 - Only the the conservatives proudly proclaim the truth of American exceptionalism. Currently the world's only super power, conservatives understand that we did not get to where we are by emulating the less successful programs of other countries.

5 - Only the conservatives have the balls (yes, the BALLS) to state that there is absolute evil in this world. While recognizing that the problems now facing the world are often complex, conservatives believe that the solutions can often be simple. Others frequently mistake this view as "simpleminded." It's not.

To me, these modern day libertarians are trying to have it both ways. "I'm not a liberal because I support a strong military in today's global situation. I'm not a conservative because I support gay marriage."

We're a two party system, guys. Pick a side. Please.

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"Birds of Baghdad"

Michael Yon's latest dispatch combines (bleat-like) fodder for bird lovers and quotes from the many letters he's received. If you're passionate about birds or want to read what Yon's supporters have written, it's here.

After reading enough of these letters, I start imagining them in the regional dialects. Like the excellent letter I received from a woman in West Virginia:

. . . The ‘sincere faces' bringing us the news on TV seem to have no stomach for context. We get no clue from their ramblings that we are winning, or doing much of anything other than riding up and down the streets in big old vehicles getting the bejesus blown out of us. Our military is portrayed as victims, rather than the warriors and heroes they are.

May the maker of the stars keep all our heroes safe, and continue to bless this wonderful country.


(Full disclosure: I don't care a whit about birds, but the letters reduced me to tears. I encourage you to check them out.)

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It's curious...

One thing struck me while watching the C-SPAN replay of today's Saddam trial; When Ramsay Clark got all emotional over how undemocratic these procedings were, I kept hearing violins. Very, very, very, tiny ... violins.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Let 'em play Xbox!

Until bedtime, that is. This is the post where I attempt to re-establish my libertarian roots.

It's the limits (or lack thereof) that parents set for their children during their formative years that best determine whether the next generation grows up to be socially adroit or underskilled.

Nip this nonsense in the bud, America.

Ever since Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) weighed in on video games in late summer -- alleging them responsible for "a silent epidemic of media desensitization" and for "stealing the innocence of our children" -- there has been a chorus of criticism about the games. [...]

Sen. Clinton's worries about video games have now been joined by those of the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) which has just issued its 10th annual review of the video game industry. According to its "MediaWise and Computer Game Report Card", which was released at a press conference with David Walsh, president and founder of NIMF and Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), the game industry continues to put America's kids at risk by producing games that while immensely profitable, are increasingly violent and sexually explicit.

If tomorrow an actuarial craze sweeps our youth culture, leading to binge bookkeeping into the wee hours on school nights, will the good Senator similarly agitate to ban the sale of pernicious ledger programs like Excel?

Of course not. As much as Hillary would love to legislate parenting practices, there's no conceivable scenario in which the parents of this country would support a government-mandated bedtime. She's forced to demonize a third party, in this case video games, to justify her intrusions into what is rightly the responsability of parents. And the sad thing is? Some parents will agree to cede that job to the Feds.

For the record, I'm just as disgusted when conservatives try the same tactic. "For The Children?" Please. Don't make me vomit. "For The Imposition Of My Morality" is more like it. Parents of America: For the love of all that is good, fight all government attempts to usurp your right to raise your own kids.

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